Sunday, June 15, 2008

Clones of the Pioneers

I spent the summer of 1979 working at Squeaky Bob Wheelers here in Grand Lake. I helped manage the place which meant I did about anything from bar tending to washing dishes. On the weekends I got to play music in the Beer Garden with Chuck Schmuck and Terry Bramwell. We were enjoying some success and I was counting on spending the winter here when a good friend from my college days in Greeley came up to visit and try and talk me into moving to Colorado Springs and joining a band he was putting together. I told Sean that I was happy in Grand Lake and didn't want to leave. He said to just come down and sit in with the band and see if I liked it. Well, I did and ended up joining the band and spending the next four or five years in 'The Springs'.
The band was named the Phantom Hooters and we were supposed to be a kind of 60's revival band. I even bought a Rickenbacker 12-string guitar (I wish I still had it) and we played clubs like The Hungry Farmer (a restaurant with a bar), Bilbo Baggins, The Stumble East etc. The group consisted of Sean Anglum on guitar and vocals, Gary Hotchkiss on drums, assorted bass players and me on guitar, banjo and vocals. We had lots of fun and even managed to make a living by just playing music. I thought that was about the greatest thing I could imagine and somehow I'm still at it to this day.
As part of the show, we would occasionally enter the Twilight Zone disguised as a band called 'The Clones Of The Pioneers'. This all started with Rob Wheeler, Sean and Gary, a bass player named Ron and me after I joined PH. They'd play a few times a year( I say they, because we dressed up in costumes from pilgrims to revolutionary war soldiers or, as in the picture,The Kingston Trio). Sean called this particular cloning, The Martha Mitchell Trio. I guess it was a twisted cross between The Chad Mitchell Trio and the wife of the attorney general under Nixon. I really miss my days in Colorado Springs and all the great friends and musicians I got to know and work with in my short time there. We still keep in touch via Barkey Lew's birthday bash every year the night before Thanksgiving. It all started on a 'Clones' night at the Hungry Farmer and lives on some 29 years later.
And they said cloning would never catch on.

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